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Entertainment: Celebrity podcasts are everywhere — and the deluge of downloads has only just begun

Mike Tirico to replace Al Michaels on 'Sunday Night Football'

  Mike Tirico to replace Al Michaels on 'Sunday Night Football' Sports broadcasting’s game of musical chairs is continuing this week. © Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports American sports broadcaster Mike Tirico. NBC revealed in a statement that they have selected Mike Tirico as the replacement for Al Michaels. After spending the last 15 years with NBC, Michaels left for a rival network with the expiration of his NBC contract.

Illustration for Rami Niemi for EW © Provided by Entertainment Weekly Illustration for Rami Niemi for EW

Sharon Osbourne has decided to un-cancel herself. After getting the boot from The Talk in March of 2021 for clashing on screen (and off) with co-host Sheryl Underwood, the 69-year-old will soon launch her own show on PodcastOne that will feature "interviews with celebrities and everyday people," along with an even more unfiltered version of her former talk-show self.

"It's kind of a gift to be able to talk about things that interest you and to be able to chat with people of your choosing," says Osbourne, who still believes she was unfairly silenced for defending Piers Morgan and his polarizing comments about the Duchess of Sussex. Asked whether she'll address her controversial last days on The Talk that included accusations of racially insensitive comments, Osbourne says, "I'm not done talking about cancel culture."

Jamie Lee Curtis stuns at Everything Everywhere All At Once premiere

  Jamie Lee Curtis stuns at Everything Everywhere All At Once premiere Jamie Lee Curtis stepped out in an all-black ensemble to support and promote her new film Everything Everywhere All At Once. The 63-year-old actress was all smiles on the red carpet of the Los Angeles premiere, held at The Theatre at the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday evening.She plays Deirdre Beaubeirdra in the A24 film, which had its world premiere at SXSW in Austin, Texas earlier this month, before hitting theaters on March 25.

Whether it's relaunching (or rehabbing) a career, going behind the scenes of a popular TV show, or swapping stories with a fellow actor, podcasting has become the go-to answer for celebrities looking for a little autonomy. Cheap to do and even easier to launch, podcasting gives famous folks like Ellen Pompeo, Dakota Johnson, Seth Rogen, and John Stamos a chance to connect with their fans in ways they never have before.

"It's a great way to connect with their community in a whole different way," says Podcast One co-founder Kit Gray. "Fans get a chance to really interact with the celebrities, and the celebrities get a chance to talk to their fan base about things they wouldn't talk about before."

Sharon Osbourne sitting on a table: Cliff Lipson/CBS via Getty Images Sharon Osbourne on 'The Talk' © Provided by Entertainment Weekly Cliff Lipson/CBS via Getty Images Sharon Osbourne on 'The Talk'

About one-third of Americans — that's 104 million people — are listening to podcasts regularly, with comedy-themed shows ranking among the most popular. Comedian and former Fear Factor host Joe Rogan is currently the most listened-to podcaster in the nation, with Office Ladies, hosted by Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey, also cracking the top 10. Meanwhile, Rogan's Man Show predecessor Adam Carolla ranked in 2020's top 50 with his eponymous podcast that launched in 2009. Newer comedy-and-celebrity entries like SmartLess (a year-old podcast hosted by Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, and Sean Hayes) and Literally! With Rob Lowe are rapidly gaining listeners and buzz.

1 Last Scare! Everything to Know About 'Halloween Ends'

  1 Last Scare! Everything to Know About 'Halloween Ends' The night he came home — again. Michael Myers is headed back to the big screen for one last ride in the upcoming sequel Halloween Ends. Following the success of 2018’s Halloween and 2021’s Halloween Kills, Jamie Lee Curtis and director David Gordon Green are teaming up again for the third installment in the series. “It’s going to make people very angry,” the Scream Queens alum told film blog The Illuminerdi in October 2021. “It’s going to stimulate people. People are going to be agitated by it. And it is a beautiful way to end this trilogy.” When Green signed on to revive the slasher franchise in 2017, he decided to wipe the slate clean, erasing any continuity from the many sequels that have premiered since the original Halloween hit theaters in 1978. That means that Laurie Strode (Curtis) is not Michael’s sister, as revealed in 1981’s Halloween II. She also doesn’t have a daughter named Jamie (Danielle Harris), who appeared in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers and Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers. “I feel what happened with Michael Myers, unfortunately, is in those later sequels he almost became a Frankenstein’s monster. He became this superhuman — nothing could really kill him,” cowriter Danny McBride explained to Business Insider in May 2017. “That doesn’t make him scary anymore.

What's in it for the celebs? Money, for one. Hosts either draw a salary or share in the profits from advertisers, who have spent $1 billion on podcasts this year because of their ability to reach educated and affluent listeners. Armchair Expert, which Dax Shepard hosts with actress Monica Padman, earned a reported $9 million in 2020. That same year, Rogan landed an astonishing $100 million pact from Spotify for facilitating he-man discussions about mixed martial arts, hunting, and everything he hates about mask and vaccination mandates.

In addition to steady income, podcasts also give celebs creative freedom. In October, Rogen launched Storytime With Seth Rogen for Stitcher, a series that invites a wide range of guests to share a great tale about pretty much anything they've experienced. "It's helpful if it's something that had an impact on your life or your work," Rogen told EW in October, who sees his podcast as more of an audio documentary. "But that doesn't mean it can't be a story about s---ting your pants at Disney World."

US assures nervous Baltics of NATO protection against Russia

  US assures nervous Baltics of NATO protection against Russia RIGA, Latvia (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday assured Lithuania and Latvia of NATO protection and American support as he made quick visits to two of the three Baltic states that are increasingly on edge as Russia presses ahead with its invasion of Ukraine. Along with Estonia, which Blinken will visit on Tuesday, the former Soviet republics are NATO members, and the Biden administration is aiming to calm any fears they have about their security in the event Russia chooses to expand its military operations.

Messy or not, the industry will take all the stories it can get: SiriusXM's president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein — whose company acquired Stitcher — believes we are only in the second inning of the podcast game, with nearly 2.4 million podcasts available to listeners in 2021 (though only 22 percent, or 552,000, are active with fresh episodes). "Whenever you see the intersection between creative freedom and economics starting to work," he says, "you're going to find celebrities paying attention."

ABC Ellen Pompeo on 'Grey's Anatomy' © Provided by Entertainment Weekly ABC Ellen Pompeo on 'Grey's Anatomy'

Fans are paying attention as well, and they don't always like what they hear. In her second-ever episode of Tell Me With Ellen Pompeo, the actress learned that radical honesty isn't always the best policy. After sharing a story about her confrontation with Denzel Washington on the set of Grey's Anatomy in 2016 ("I was like, 'Listen, motherf---er, this is my show!' "), the actress got shellacked on the internet by people calling her "privileged" and "entitled." Notes Carolla, who does his show for Podcast One: "It's hard because if you are going to speak freely for two hours a day, you're going to end up creating some negative publicity on occasion. I've certainly had my fair share of that."

This is the best spaghetti Western of all time, according to data

  This is the best spaghetti Western of all time, according to data Using data from IMDb, Stacker compiled a list of the best spaghetti Westerns of all time, from “Ace High” to “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”

So chatty celebs, beware: Podcasting can be easy money, but only if you have a sustainable, interesting point of view. "What we relay to celebrities is that listeners don't want to come to you about politics and stuff like that," says Gray of Podcast One. "They want to get away from it. They want to enjoy life. They want to get some motivation." Adds Carolla, "It's hard to get by on your looks when you are podcasting. There's a business model now for it when there really didn't use to be. I would say the same thing to a random 19-year-old I met that I would to an A-lister. Do a podcast, provided you have something to say. If you don't, don't bother."

A version of this story appears in Entertainment Weekly's February issue, on newsstands Jan. 21 and available to order here. Don't forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

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Jersey Shore's Angelina Pivarnick Hospitalized for Stress Amid Divorce .
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